Mary Beth Jager

Indigenous Peoples and research: self-determination in research governance

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Indigenous Peoples are reimagining their relationship with research and researchers through greater self-determination and involvement in research governance. The emerging discourse around Indigenous Data Sovereignty has provoked discussions about decolonizing data practices and highlighted the importance of Indigenous Data Governance to support Indigenous decision-making and control of data. Given that much data are generated from research, Indigenous research governance and Indigenous Data Governance overlap. In this paper, we broaden the concept of Indigenous Data Sovereignty by using the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance to discuss how research legislation and policy adopted by Indigenous Peoples in the US set expectations around recognizing sovereign relationships, acknowledging rights and interests in data, and enabling Indigenous Peoples' participation in research governance.

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Citation

Garba I, Sterling R, Plevel R, Carson W, Cordova-Marks FM, Cummins J, Curley C, David-Chavez D, Fernandez A, Hiraldo D, Hiratsuka V, Hudson M, Jäger MB, Jennings LL, Martinez A, Yracheta J, Garrison NA and Carroll SR. Indigenous Peoples and research: self-determination in research governance. (2023). Front. Res. Metr. Anal. 8:1272318. doi: 10.3389/frma.2023.1272318

Indigenous Peoples' Rights in Data: a contribution toward Indigenous Research Sovereignty

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Indigenous Peoples' right to sovereignty forms the foundation for advocacy and actions toward greater Indigenous self-determination and control across a range of domains that impact Indigenous Peoples' communities and cultures. Declarations for sovereignty are rising throughout Indigenous communities and across diverse fields, including Network Sovereignty, Food Sovereignty, Energy Sovereignty, and Data Sovereignty. Indigenous Research Sovereignty draws in the sovereignty discourse of these initiatives to consider their applications to the broader research ecosystem. Our exploration of Indigenous Research Sovereignty, or Indigenous self-determination in the context of research activities, has been focused on the relationship between Indigenous Data Sovereignty and efforts to describe Indigenous Peoples' Rights in data.

Citation

Hudson Maui, Carroll Stephanie Russo, Anderson Jane, Blackwater Darrah, Cordova-Marks Felina M., Cummins Jewel, David-Chavez Dominique, Fernandez Adam, Garba Ibrahim, Hiraldo Danielle, Jäger Mary Beth, Jennings Lydia L., Martinez Andrew, Sterling Rogena, Walker Jennifer D., Rowe Robyn K. Indigenous Peoples' Rights in Data: a contribution toward Indigenous Research Sovereignty. (2023).  Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics. 8. DOI=10.3389/frma.2023.1173805  https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frma.2023.1173805

Policy Brief: Native Nation Rebuilding for Tribal Research and Data Governance

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Indigenous Peoples conducted research long before their interactions with European settlers. Whether through observation or practice, research in a non-western context was woven into Indigenous ways of knowing and being. It continues to inform Indigenous Knowledges of landscapes and natural resources, governance systems, intra- and inter-governmental relationships, and behavior. The outcomes of this research are reflected in how Indigenous Peoples understand who they are today. Research in Indigenous communities has evolved—and not always in positive ways. For decades, noncommunity-member researchers, including non-Indigenous researchers, have studied Indigenous Peoples and communities.

Research practices range from collaborative to exploitative, with research outcomes and outputs often intended for the benefit of users outside a particular Native nation or cultural group. Some researchers honor tribal sovereignty in their research practices and seek tribal government and community guidance on research approvals and processes (or are attempting to pivot in this direction). Others have collected data from Indigenous communities for their personal or research advancement without concern for community desires, collected data without consent from Native nations, and misrepresented how data would be used. Such actions have led to contentious engagements among public institutions, researchers, and Indigenous Peoples.

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Hiraldo, Danielle, Stephanie Russo Carroll, Dominique M. David-Chavez, Mary Beth Jäger, and Miriam Jorgensen. 2020. "Native Nation Rebuilding for Tribal Research and Data Governance." NNI Policy Brief Series. Tucson: Native Nations Institute, University of Arizona.

Building an Indigenous Foods Knowledges Network Through Relational Accountability

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In recent decades, there has been a movement toward rectifying injustices and developing collab­orations between Indigenous communities and mainstream researchers to address environmental challenges that are of concern to Indigenous Peo­ples. This movement, primarily driven by Indige­nous community leaders and scholars, emphasizes community-driven research that addresses Indige­nous People’s interests, foregrounds Indigenous Knowledge systems, and both respects and asserts Indigenous sovereignty. This article describes a nascent model in the movement—the Indigenous Foods Knowledges Network (IFKN)—designed to connect Indigenous communities and scholars across the Arctic and the U.S. Southwest. IFKN’s goal is to foster a network of Indigenous leaders, citizens, and scholars who are focused on research and community capacity related to food sover­eignty and resilience. IFKN members collectively work to promote and carry out research that (1) utilizes Indigenous research processes, (2) embraces and respects Indigenous Knowledge sys­tems, and (3) supports Indigenous communities (IFKN, 2018). The authors discuss relational accountability and centering of story, which form the foundation for the methodological approaches and work of IFKN.

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Jäger, M. B., Ferguson, D., Huntington, O., Johnson, M., Johnson, N., Juan, A., Larson, S., Pulsifer, P., Reader, T., Strawhacker, C., Walker, A., Whiting, D., Wilson, J., Yazzie, J., Carroll, S., & Foods Knowledges Network, I. (2019). Building an Indigenous Foods Knowledges Network Through Relational Accountability. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 9(B), 1-7. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2019.09B.005

Reclaiming Indigenous Health in the US: Moving beyond the Social Determinants of Health

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The lack of literature on Indigenous conceptions of health and the social determinants of health (SDH) for US Indigenous communities limits available information for Indigenous nations as they set policy and allocate resources to improve the health of their citizens. In 2015, eight scholars from tribal communities and mainstream educational institutions convened to examine: the limitations of applying the World Health Organization’s (WHO) SDH framework in Indigenous communities; Indigenizing the WHO SDH framework; and Indigenous conceptions of a healthy community. Participants critiqued the assumptions within the WHO SDH framework that did not cohere with Indigenous knowledges and epistemologies and created a schematic for conceptualizing health and categorizing its determinants. As Indigenous nations pursue a policy role in health and seek to improve the health and wellness of their nations’ citizens, definitions of Indigenous health and well-being should be community-driven and Indigenous-nation based. Policies and practices for Indigenous nations and Indigenous communities should reflect and arise from sovereignty and a comprehensive understanding of the nations and communities’ conceptions of health and its determinants beyond the SDH.

Native Nations
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Carroll,S.R.; Suina,M.; Jäger,M.B.; Black,J.; Cornell,S.; Gonzales,A.A.; Jorgensen,M.; Palmanteer-Holder,N.L.; DeLaRosa, J.S.; Teufel-Shone,N.I. Reclaiming Indigenous Health in the US: Moving beyond the Social Determinants of Health. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 7495. https:// doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19127495

Indigenous Foods Knowledges Network: Facilitating Exchange between Arctic and Southwest Indigenous Communities on Food and Knowledge Sovereignty

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On a sunny morning in June of 2019, our hosts at the Athabaskan Nay'dini'aa Na'Kayax' Culture Camp, located near Chickaloon Native Village in south-central Alaska, set up a table near the smoke house and demonstrated how to fillet salmon. It was salmon season in Chickaloon, and young campers were learning how to process fish: how to fillet, smoke, and preserve it in oil. First, children and youth from the camp were given the chance to practice their knife skills, with adults standing behind them and offering encouragement and gentle correction of technique when it was needed. Adults also taught the children Ahtna words (Ahtna is part of the Athabaskan language group) and stories as they prepared the salmon. After the children had all had a turn, camp leaders offered our group of visitors the chance to try. Amy Juan, a member of the Tohono O'odham Nation (located within the Sonoran Desert in south central Arizona) , eagerly stepped forward. "I've always wanted to learn how to fillet fish!" she said, explaining that since she came from a desert people, she had never had the chance to try.

Native Nations
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Citation

Johnson, N,. Jäger, M.B., Jennings, L., Juan, A., Carroll, S.R., & Ferguson DB. (March 2020). Indigenous Foods Knowledges Network: Facilitating Exchange between Arctic and Southwest Indigenous Communities on Food and Knowledge Sovereignty.” Witness Community Highlights Arcus.org/witness-the-arctic

Tribal Child Welfare Codes as Sovereignty in Action. 2016 NICWA conference edition

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Tribal Child Welfare Codes as Sovereignty in Action. 2016 NICWA conference edition
Year

With passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), Congress formally recognized Native nations’ inherent authority to govern child welfare matters and provided support for tribal self-determination over child welfare. Because ICWA “assumes that a tribal code is the governance mechanism by which a tribe establishes and implements its jurisdiction over all aspects of child well-being,” ICWA’s passage also marked the starting point for (re-)establishing tribal laws to govern the protection and care of Indian children and families.

Almost 40 years later, how have tribes responded to this opportunity? How have tribes’ child welfare laws and codes evolved? How might tribes strengthen their laws to implement their jurisdiction? How are Native nations enacting their sovereignty to protect their children?

Based on a study of 107 tribal child welfare codes conducted collaboratively by the Native Nations Institute (NNI) at The University of Arizona and the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), this report focuses on eight core aspects of tribal child welfare policy:

  • Jurisdiction
  • Mandatory reporting
  • Alternative (differential) responses
  • Paternity
  • Removal of a child from the family home
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Permanency (guardianships and adoption)
  • Best interest of the child

Where relevant, our discussions consider how tribal child welfare codes reflect tribal culture and tradition and how codes can reflect the specific needs of a tribal community. Throughout, the report aims to provide decision-relevant information for tribal leaders working to increase protections for their communities’ children and families.

 

Native Nations
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Citation

Starks, Rachel Rose, Adrian T. Smith, Mary Beth Jäger, Miriam Jorgensen, and Stephen Cornell. 2016. "Tribal Child Welfare Codes as Sovereignty in Action. [Conference Edition]." Paper presented at the 2016 National Indian Child Welfare Association Annual Meeting, St. Paul, MN, April 4-6, 2016. Portland, OR: National Indian Child Welfare Association; Tucson, AZ: Native Nations Institute.

Protecting Our Children: A Review of 100+ Tribal Welfare Codes

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NNI researchers Mary Beth Jäger (Citizen Potawatomi), Rachel Starks (Zuni/Navajo), and National Indian Child Welfare Association governmental affairs staff attorney, Adrian Smith shared the results of an ongoing study on culture, removal, termination of parental rights, and adoption in tribal child welfare codes.

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Starks, Rachel, Adrian Tobin Smith & Mary Beth Jager. Protecting Our Children: A Review of 100+ Tribal Welfare Codes. Poster Session: Research to Fuel our Futures. The NCAI Policy Research Center Tribal Leader/Scholar Forum. National Congress of American Indians Mid Year Conference. St. Paul, Minnesota. June 30, 2015. Poster.

Culture and Law: Preliminary Findings in a Review of 100+ Tribal Welfare Codes

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Over the last 35 years numerous tribes have created their own child welfare standards. By crafting child welfare codes that balance traditional culture and contemporary needs, tribes both protect member children (and their families) in culturally appropriate ways and reaffirm their sovereign authority.

Native Nations
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Citation

Jager, Mary Beth, Rachel Rose Starks, Adrian T. Smith, and Miriam Jorgensen. 2015. "Culture and Law: Preliminary Findings in a Review of 100+ Tribal Welfare Codes." The Judges' Pages Newsletter, no. Summer 2015.